Old friends along Belt and Road reunite at Canton Fair
This photo taken on April 15, 2023, shows the booths of Turkish exhibitors at the 133rd session of the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
GUANGZHOU, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi businessman Abdullah Rahman could hardly wait to meet his old friend in China after arriving at the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, after the event had largely remained online since 2020 due to COVID-19 prevention measures.
With the full resumption of on-site activities, Rahman said the fair enables him to have direct communication with Chinese companies, see and touch products, and make the right purchase with higher efficiency.
Rahman first established business cooperation with Guangzhou Tiger Head Battery Group Co., Ltd. in 2007. Wu Yan, overseas sales director of this leading dry battery manufacturer, said they have brought the latest products to this year's fair and are eager to share the new batteries with their partner from Iraq.
"I am quite interested in the home energy storage product series developed by Tiger Head," said Rahman, adding that he also plans to visit the battery enterprise's industrial park.
The Canton Fair, officially known as the China Import and Export Fair, has been held twice annually since 1957.
It will run until May 5 during this year's spring session and welcome purchasers from over 220 countries and regions, covering markets in Europe, the United States, and emerging markets along the Belt and Road.
Hashik Abdulla, a purchaser from the United Arab Emirates, said he secured a hotel room over two weeks ago, as he had heard that there is typically a surge in accommodation demand during the Canton Fair.
Nirose Paramabtah Mohammed and Noushad Kummitharayil Mohamed, buyers from the hypermarkets and retail companies operator Lulu Group International, said they came to the fair for the "best quality, best price, and most innovative models and designs" for consumers in the Middle East and India.
"The Canton Fair is very helpful for us to develop new brands and new products," said Mohammed.
This year's offline exhibition venues, covering 1.5 million square meters, will provide nearly 70,000 booths for around 35,000 exhibitors, both representing record highs, according to the organizer.
Heri, a buyer of electrical appliances from Indonesia, has led a team of dozens of participants to the fair with the hope of expanding opportunities.
They arrived ahead of the opening and paid an exclusive visit to the production lines of Guangzhou Light Holdings Limited's branch in Zhongshan City.
"They never disappoint us," said Heri. "From buying one or two containers per year in the past, to now purchasing five or six containers per month, our business has been boosted by increasing demand in the Southeast Asian markets and supported by China's strong manufacturing capability."
While expanding its exhibition space, the fair has also expanded its import exhibition, with 508 companies from 40 countries and regions having registered to participate, of which 73 percent are from countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
Olive oil from Italy, red wine from Chile, and avocado from Mexico are among the collection of quality import products selected by Lotus Market, a chain supermarket owned by the Chia Tai Group, to add a touch of the exotic to consumers' dining tables.
"The Canton Fair provides a high-end platform for communication, connection, and cooperation, especially in the import exhibition that has gathered featured products from all over the world," said Zou Yu, director of external marketing at Chia Tai Group.
"With the increase in offline presentations this year, we believe that we will gain even more from them," Zou added.